Installation Installation was relatively easy. I used a pair of needle nose pliers to pinch the little plastic retainer thingies together on the back of the card and pushed them through. Then it was simple a matter of turning and pulling on the cooler to pull it off. I personally recommend you do a little gaming for about a half hour before hand to get the goop nice and warm. This will allow a much easier and cleaner separation. The stock Thermal Interface Material (TIM) was some kind of nasty, yellow glue of a wax like texture. This was dispensed with easily enough with a the use of a non acetone based nail polish remover.
Then its just a matter of smearing... err... I mean carefully applying the thermal grease to the GPU, and attaching the Copper Cooler using the pushpins. Its a virtually idiot proof installation. If you carefully look at the card, it has an outline for how the HSF is supposed to go, so the factory workers get it on right side up. Since the G4-VGA is the same shape as the stock cooler, only thicker, it lines up with the outline perfectly, so you too can get it on right side up.
One thing worthy of mention is the fan header. The stock fan plugs into your video card via a 2 pin header. The TT G4-VGA Copper Cooler has a more powerful fan, and uses a 3 pin plug. Included with the unit is a 4 pin molex pass through that has a 3pin header coming off of it. Obviously, this is to plug your fan into. Theoretically this should go without saying, but don't forget to plug in the fan. I forgot to plug it in upon installation the first time. It didn't fry my GPU and caused no harm to my system, but the copper got plenty warm let me tell you. I bet it would have locked up if I attempted any 3d work, but the skyrocketing temperatures tipped me off before it got that far.
Performance All performance number were taken by a the DigiDoc5. In order to not disturb the contact between the GPU and the heatsink, I mounted the thermal sensor flush with the edge of the chip, but not on top, or in the middle. While this isn't 100% accurate, it should provide a reasonable enough reflection of the true performance. Idle temperatures were taken at stock speeds on the desktop. Load Temperatures were taken at stock speed while running 3dmark. I just watched a few loops until I was sure that things had leveled off.
Overclocking Lets face it, if you visiting us at OCA, you want to hear about Overclocking. The GPU overclock has always left a lot to be desired on my eVGA ti4400. The ram has always scaled extremely well though, so I lived with the sub par GPU. From the factory, I could only reach 295Mhz. I pulled off the OEM heatsink, cleaned off the TIM, and replaced it with real thermal goop. That bought me an extra 5, for a speed of 300Mhz. Not bad. The addition of this little copper wonder bought me another 10Mhz. This brings our grand total to 310Mhz. Still not the fastest on the block, but definitely respectable.
Conclusion Well, the ThermalTake G4-VGA does exactly what its supposed to do. It cooled my GPU considerably better than the stock cooler. It allowed me to overclock farther than I previously could. For those of you who have windows it also looks higher performance due to the clear lid and shiny copper. I just had to end it in classic OCA style, with a pair of empties.
Want to pick one of these bad boys up? Head on over to SidewinderComputers. Their courteous staff will get your order shipped out in no time.
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